Consumer trust in branded domains reaches new high

Consumer trust levels in new dot.brand domain names are hitting new highs on both sides of the Atlantic as more and more of the generic top level domains [gTLDs] are launched.

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A study carried out by Afilias, a global registry services provider, found that 25 per cent of US and UK consumers are now able to trust new gTLDs – an increase of four per cent compared to the previous year. This has coincided with the number of those only willing to trust heritage domain names dropping from 54 per cent in 2013 to 39 per cent in 2014

“Major global brands are now preparing to launch their own “dotBRAND” domains in order to capitalize on the branding, security and customer experience advantages they will now have over competitors. Brands without these advantages must prepare quickly for ICANN to open the next window, as consumers are showing an increasing willingness to accept and even trust these new addresses,” stated Roland LaPlante, senior VP and CMO of Afilias.

When making purchases, the number that would prefer to use a branded URL has grown from 13 per cent in 2013 to 18 per cent in 2014, and one example of this preference is using “shop.adidas” over “adidas.com/shop.”

In addition, 32 per cent stated they would trust a dot.brand site to be offering legitimate goods or services and just 10 per cent would be less likely to trust a dot.brand than a heritage domain.

“The arrival of new domain names is an historic chapter in Internet history. Even before they have all fully launched, consumers are warming to the notion of new domains. The research reinforces our belief that within 5 years most global brands will be operating from dotBrand Internet addresses,” LaPlante added.

Afilias’ figures come just ahead of a swarm of new gTLDs being released by the likes of Google, Microsoft and Nike, and it follows the much heralded release of the shorter .uk domain suffix.

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The data was gathered from a sample of 3,469 consumers that used the Internet from across both the UK and US.